Thursday 8 November 2012 update: DE DOORNS Hex River Valley grape farms violence
The communists of South Africa this week launched their first salvo in the ‘ second stage ’ of their revolution with an attack at the flourishing Hex River valley grape farms this week. They have also been active in the Kuruman, North Cape region in a similar campaign.
From early-Monday morning, an 8,000-strong black-male mob – mostly Xhosas and Sothos – were dispatched to the farms in De Doorns with buses from townships. This ‘rolling mob’ set fire to vineyards and cottages of ‘uncooperative’ farm workers. The mob also invaded the small town of De Doorns and attacked the Somali-owned spaza-shops in an orgy of xenophobic looting.
Farm workers cottages torched – their families chased out by violent black males Farmers send their families away until violence stops
Above: Landbouweekblad: “On Wednesday-night rioters torched farmworkers’ cottages at De Doorns after the workers had gone to work, said Agri-West Cape ‘s Porchia Adams. “Farmers and the agricultural community now are fedup with these inciting troublemakers.” Pictures Jacques Beukes, Landbouweekblad:
SA website encourages Cape-Coloured workers to attack white farmers in De Doorns:
Local farmers said Cosatu ‘negotiators’ threatened to start torching all the Western Cape farms ‘until they gave in to their demands of R150 a day wage increased (from R70). Farmers already pay a daily R218 for each farm worker: who also receive R3,000 a month for rent, free electricity, free water-reticulation, free milk for their families, free health-care insurance and free transportation. However by law, unions are not allowed to negotiate 'minimum wage’ agreements: this is done by ANC National Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.
De Doorns produces the biggest Table grape crop in South Africa
The tiny town is at the heart of the economically-important Hex River valley – SA’s largest table-grape production area. From this small valley alone, some 18million 4,5kg cartons of table grapes are exported a year. SA’s total output countrywide averages 42million cartons annually.
At the moment, the early-grape varieties of De Doorns are in bloom: at least 600 hectares of these valuable vines were torched since Monday and 25 farms attacked. Farmers thus far estimate the damage at at least R14million.
On Monday-morning early, the bucolic peace in one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the world was rudely disturbed: the Afrikaans-coloured farm-workers around De Doorns were reportedly pulled from their cottages by the estimated 8,000 black ‘wage protestors.’ Those farm-workers who didn’t want to go stand on the road to ‘prove they were striking’, even were sjambokked and threatened that their homes would be burnt and their families injured. From Monday, some 600-hectares of vinyards were torched.
By Adriana Stuijt. The ‘protestors’ claim that this is a ‘wage-dispute’ and the Cosatu-trade-union leader as well as the l SA Communist Youth league leader held speeches on Wednesday and claimed to be ‘negotiating the wage dispute’. Despite the ongoing violence against farm-workers and the torching of vinyards, the mob members deny in comments to the news media that they are ‘aggressive’: claiming they had ‘thus far not hurt anyone. However they were aggressive: torching 25 farms, petrolbombing a local community leader’s home and targetting Somali refugee-families sole source of income. video
Afrikaner farmers on nearby farms hastily organised more private-security and got their families out of the homesteads to protect them against the mob. In the small town of De Doorns (above), the local residents could only stand by and watch while shops were looted and destroyed by the mob, I was told today.
Enroute to De Doorns, the aggressive looters also burnt tyre-barricades, torched at least 25 historic Afrikaner farms: at least 600 hectares of valuable vinyards were lost, farmers estimate. “They basically destroyed everything they could vent their spleen on, including road-signs,” farmers said.
Below: Local farm-residents and farmers told me that many of their coloured workers and their families were pulled from their cottages by the black protestors and sjambokked (whipped) if they did not want to participate in the ‘protests.’ The workers were herded onto the road to prove that they were ‘striking’.
Two farmers arrested for trying defend their families from 8,000-strong mob: one charged with attempted murder:
Two farmers, Barry and Louis de Kock, became so terrified of the huge mob invading their farm that they fired warning shots in the air in an attempt to scare them away from their homesteads. The SAPS arrested the farmers for ‘attempted murder’. Farmers said the SAPS basically ‘have their hands cut off after Marikana and can’t intervene, but they did fire rubber bullets to try and stop some of the worst excesses.’
The agricultural weekly 'Landbouweekblad' 's reporter has been on the scene throughout the protests and recorded the above video. Video source:
De Doorns Somalia shopkeepers terrorised by 8000 ‘protestors’ – rekindling fears of xenophobia last seen in 2008 link
“Our workers were terrorised,’ said one well-known local farmer. “They were threatened that their cottages would be torched and their families endangered. So many of the actual farm workers stood around on the N1 highway just to show the ‘protestors’ that they weren’t working. Our workers for the most part earn an average of R70 a day but they also get free housing, free electricity and free water-reticulation with those salaries. Now the ‘protestors’ claim the farm workers should be paid R170 a day in cash – which would ruin farmers. We work with very small profit margins’.
The farmers also believe that the ‘wage-negotiations’ are just a ploy – basically the 8,000-strong mob was bused in to wreck their farms for political reasons. De Doorns has been totally wrecked, the shops are looted, and many farmers believe that the main purpose of the chaos caused by these people was to loot the shops and wreck the farms.
The chaos broke out in the world-famous Hex Rivier vineyards north of Cape Town, South Africa early on Monday-morning. A video by Landbouweekblad also mentioned that the Afrikaans-speaking coloured farm workers were pulled from their cottages, ordering them to march with the Xhosas.
The area is hugely popular with foreign tour companies for their historic wine-farms tours. The liberal pro-ruling ANC Afrikaans daily “Die Burger’ claimed in its front-page report on November 7 2012 that ‘years of frustrations were being vented amongst the vinyards over bad working conditions and low pay’. The minum wage os R70 daily includes inkind payment including R3,000 rent-free housing, free electricity/water/sewerage services for their families; free milk for their families, free transport, and membership of medical aid funds: representing a total average cost of R218 a day for each worker to the farmers. The trade union Cosatu demands R180 cash payment a day - and ignores the additional free housing etc. already received by the workers.
The SAPS (below) fired some rubber-bullets at the protestors – the workers were quick to show their rubber-bullet wounds to the Landbouweekblad journalists -- but most farmers said police officers just sat and watched. A helicopter also was flying overhead dumping water – scooped with a bucket from farm-dams -- on the flames.
Historic wine-farm route of South Africa – video
documents, relevant links, propaganda statements:
De Doorns farmworkers demands justified – Buti Manamela: SA Young Communist League
Buti Manamela 07 November 2012 YCL national secretary says silence of MEC Gerrit van Rensburg on De Doorns situation is revealing
Speech made by YCL National Secretary Cde Buti Manamela to De Doorns today.Revolutionary greetings from the more than 80 000 strong members of the The Young Communist League of South Africa (uFasimba). We have been monitoring the situation of farm workers for some time and saw it fit to come and listen to the demands of De Doorn farm workers. The YCL supports the demands of the De Doorns farm workers in the Western Cape in their strike for higher wages, improved working conditions and an end to unjustified evictions.Some of these farm workers are paid just R55 a day by exploitative farm owners. Workers can’t be expected to raise families and sustain themselves on a mere R1400 a month. The YCL feels that the R150 they are demanding is justified considering the harsh conditions they endure and the hard work they do to maximize the profits of the farm owners.Some labour brokers used by these farm bosses transport farm workers in trucks that are not meant for passengers thus putting the life of workers in danger.Workers are on a daily basis evicted by the farm owners and have been encouraged to move to informal settlements where they will qualify for RDP houses.We condemn the violence against workers and demand an immediate solution to the impasse without the loss of life. We demand police immediately deal with the issue of the irate farmer who opened fire on workers yesterday. An investigation must be carried out as to the reason for the police handing over a coloured youth to a white shop owner to assault him after looting his shop rather than arresting him. These images, of a coloured youth being assaulted by a white shop owner were broadcast to the nation yesterday on eNCA news.The silence by the Western Cape MEC for agriculture Mr. Gerrit Van Rensburg is revealing. His choosing to ignore the situation further proves to us that himself and the party he belongs to and serves under, Democratic Alliance is not concerned about the working class and the poor.Since the De Doorns situation does not present an opportunity for media hype we will not see Madam Zille taking action on it. She will not be marching to the shop owner’s house this Sunday protesting neither against his assault nor to the farm owner house that shot protesting workers.Instead of rushing to invade Nkandla Helen Zille must first deal with the issues that are happening in her own backyard. She needs to quickly realize that the world does not revolved around making headlines and media attention. If the De Doorns situation was offering a pad to launch her 2014 elections campaign we don’t doubt that she would have shown her face there.At the centre of all this situation is the issue of land ownership. As the YCL we feel that transformation is moving at a snails pace. More land needs to be transferred to previously disadvantaged people. The willing buyer and willing seller mode is not serving our people and needs to be done away with and put up measures that will deal issues if land ownership with a sense of urgency. Last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report into the conditions of farm workers in the Western Cape. The report found that the conditions of farm workers are perilous with many not being allowed the right to organise, decent sanitation or housing. The HRW called on immediate measures to be taken to improve the lives of the farm workers. The situation in De Doorns proves that the report was largely ignored by the provincial administration. Farm workers are amongst the most vulnerable in society, yet do some of the hardest work to ensure the nation is fed and nourished. We as the YCL say that this must change now.Issued by the YCL, November 7 2012
Bolandse plaasgeweld kring uit: Die Burger:
Propaganda: EWN Cape Farm Workers Revolting:http://ewn.co.za/StandAloneMedia/De-Doorns-121106Video source:
Pictures by Cobus Eksteen
Somali shops xenophobia official government report 2008 De Doorns:
Xenophobic attacks Nov 6 2012 De Doorns:
WC farmer arrested for shooting at protestors
South Africa no longer delivers top-quality table grapes for export market: - Zuid-Afrika geen superdruiven meer levert
South African Table Grape Industry:
High labour cost has many SA farmers turn to mechanisation in vinyards;
“Mens kan nie toegee aan hulle eise nie, want waar gaan dit dan eindig. Daar is reeds meganiese toerusting wat druiwe kan snoei. Hy werk heeldag en kla nie, vra nie vir loonverhogings nie en brand nie jou plek af nie. Laat die boere saamstaan en die tegnologie koop, tot almal se voordeel. Kyk al moet ek gaan help druiwe pluk en ek glo menige van my mede boere voel ook so, maar ons kan nie toegee nie. Wat is dan volgende ons plase?
SACP/Cosatu/ANC ruling alliance behind destruction of Hex Rivier farms
Murder list for white farmers shocks Free State residents:
Report fraudulent, dishonest farm-workers who were dismissed:
Plaaswerkers se huise afgebrand deur swart Cosatu betogers De Doorns:
Second Stage of the Revolution – now referred to as the ‘Second Transition’ in South Africa: